Zone Read: Eagles-Washington, the Day After

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Nick Foles walked slowly and gingerly from his locker to the podium in the media room at Lincoln Financial Field.

He had removed his jersey and shoulder pads and cleats. But he hadn’t showered yet and still was in his game-worn pants, pads protecting his thighs and quadriceps.

If Foles hadn’t realized it before, he found out with about 9:56 left in the fourth quarter that as a quarterback in the NFL, it’s always wise to keep your guard up because you never know when the next hit is coming.

Foles had let up after it looked like Washington defensive back Bashaud Breeland was down on an interception return. But behind him to his right came 325-pound defensive lineman Chris Baker with a leveling blow that lifted Foles off the ground and put him in a daze, sparking a melee on the Washington sideline.

“No I didn’t,” Foles said, when asked if he saw the hit coming. “He got me pretty good. I did not see him. …I thought the guy was down so that’s why I wasn’t looking for anyone. The next thing I know I’m just obliterated, so I don’t know.” Read more »

All-22: The Emergence Of Zach Ertz

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With 5:15 left in the third quarter of Monday night’s game against the Colts, the Eagles needed someone to step up and make a play.

They were trailing 20-6 and faced a 3rd-and-11 from their own 43. They had a good hunch of what the Colts were going to do on defense: rush three and drop eight.

Zach Ertz lined up in the slot. He would run an over route downfield to the opposite hash mark. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘More Than Just Two Weapons’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The question posed to Chip Kelly was about the Eagles’ starting wide receivers.

The answer revealed a little something about the head coach’s philosophy and the reasons behind some of the team’s offseason moves.

“The good thing about this group is we’re built in a manner that I think we have more than just two weapons,” Kelly said. “So if for some reason they’re going to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go try to play press man and play those guys out there.’ Then we have to be able to beat you other places. That is one of the reasons it happened to us last year. I think bringing Jordan [Matthews] in, and getting [Zach] Ertz a little more playing time and getting another running back in there is: Who is going to match up with your inside guys? We got into that situation last year, and our outside guys got shut down. So now you have to get to your slots and tight ends.”

The term shut down certainly got my attention. The Eagles set franchise records in yards and points a year ago. By any statistical measure, Year 1 of Kelly’s offense in the NFL was a success. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Colts, the Day After

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Eagles facing a 2nd-and-goal from the Colts’ 19 yard line, Darren Sproles set up in the backfield to the right of Nick Foles.

The quarterback handed him the ball, and Sproles initially headed to the left, where his blocking was. But there was no hole, and the cutback was open, so he brought it back to the right side. Foles was a couple yards behind him carrying out his fake.

At the 15, there was safety Mike Adams waiting. Sproles juked him and headed further to his right where there was open field. At the 7, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson closed in and made contact, but didn’t wrap up. Another Colts defender went low, and cornerback Darius Butler tried to help out as well. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Luck-Ertz Reunion

 

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Zach Ertz admits that it was a bit of a “narrow-sighted view.”

The Orange, California native was drawn in by the  L.A. lights and the recruiting capabilities of Rick Neuheisel coming out of high school, and had his sights set on UCLA. His mother had other ideas. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Jaguars, the Day After

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Watching from the sideline, linebacker DeMeco Ryans knew the Eagles had a first down before the ball was even snapped.

Darren Sproles had just picked up 8 yards on a screen, but he was tackled short of the sticks, and the offense faced a 4th-and-1 from the Jacksonville 49. The Eagles were trailing 17-0 in the third quarter.

“Sitting on the sideline, I knew we had ‘em,” Ryans said. “Because as a defense, you’re kind of happy about a third-down stop and you’re not expecting a fourth-down play. Our offense gets on the ball and runs it quickly, catches everybody off-guard.”

Chip Kelly didn’t hesitate. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur told him the Eagles were short, and Kelly made a tempo call – a message that can be communicated with one or two words. The call lets the offensive players know it’s time to bust it back to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped. Read more »

After Rocky Start, Nick Foles Comes Through

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles
One thing we are learning about Nick Foles: when he is off, he is off in a big way.

A quarterback known for his accuracy and decision-making early in his career was tentative and routinely off the mark for much of Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. He rounded into form late, helping the Eagles pull out a 34-17 win. He ended 27-of-45 for 322 yards with two touchdown passes, an interception and a pair of lost fumbles. Read more »

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